Megan Strauss is the Executive Director and founder of Alpine Achievers Initiative. Megan received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in non-profit leadership and development and has been working in the non-profit world since 2006. Her passions are bringing inspiration to underserved youth and creating meaningful experiences for service-oriented individuals. Megan served two terms with AmeriCorps which changed the course of her life and is now proud to support AmeriCorps programs serving youth in the San Luis Valley.
Emily is joining Alpine Achievers Initiative as the new Program Director. She is a Colorado native who understands the importance of connecting with the outdoors. Right after graduating high school, she spent 6 seasons on the Arkansas river and Youghiogheny river, and afterwards received her Dual Masters from Penn State in Outdoor Recreation and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She returned to Colorado and spent time as a substitute teacher, also leading after school programs in Leadville. The last 3 years, Emily worked as the Director of the Recreation Department in Buena Vista where she facilitated youth and adult athletics, special events, and cultural programs. She brings with her diverse knowledge and aspires to use it to build community resiliency through passion driven experiences.
As the Program Coordinator, Maddie works to enhance AAI’s Out of School Time programming. She served as an AmeriCorps member in 2017 and quickly became passionate about the organization and the communities in which it serves. She is originally from Virginia and moved to Saguache after receiving a degree in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Maddie is passionate about growth and understand oneself. She wants to bring more opportunities to youth so they can explore their passions and be the best humans they can be.
I am the part time Finance Manager for Alpine Achievers Initiative. I grew up in the San Luis Valley and currently live in Saguache, Colorado. Before joining AAI, I worked as a CPA on the front range and in the San Luis Valley for 12 years. Through a serendipitous series of events, I found myself as the math teacher at Mountain Valley School where I feel in love with teaching high school students and saw first hand the benefits that AAI provides to youth and communities. While I dearly loved my job as a teacher, I was fortunate to become a mother in May of 2018 and decided to take a break from the long hours of education to spend time at home with my daughter. Now, as the AAI Finance Manager, I am able to spend many quality hours with my baby, work with fantastic people, all while still contributing to youth in southern Colorado.
Linnaea Renz has dedicated over 10 years of her career to youth programming. Starting as a youth member of Youth Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park, she went on to lead youth in outdoor programming in the US and abroad. She also ran after school high school programming in Montana and job training programs for young adults and military veterans. She now calls Creede, CO her home, where she runs a bed and breakfast. Linnaea is excited to be a part of the AAI team and help bring positive opportunities to the youth of the San Luis Valley.